When Marble Cliff Village Mayor Kent Studebaker paid a visit Friday, March 22, to former mayor Frank Monaco, it was more than just a social call.
Studebaker surprised Monaco with a resolution Village Council had passed honoring his three decades of service to Marble Cliff and naming the fountain on the Cambridge Boulevard island the Frank G. Monaco Fountain.
"I was overwhelmed," Monaco said. "It was a really nice surprise. I certainly didn't expect it. I was never looking for anything -- I just wanted to serve our wonderful community."
Over his 32 years as a village official, he said he "served in every position," including clerk-treasurer, council member, council president and mayor for eight years before his retirement in 2003.
"I got involved in the first place because the former mayor (Paul Falco) asked if I would help out with the books," Monaco said. "Going back to when I started with the village, we did everything (with our files) in a cardboard box. We'd have our meetings in a restaurant. It was a crude way to run a village.
"We've come a long way since then."
It is fitting to name the fountain after Monaco, since he was instrumental in having the fountain built in the early 1990s, Studebaker said.
Monaco said he was inspired by the tradition in Italy of having a fountain in the town square.
"It gives Marble Cliff a distinctive character," he said. "People know us now for our fountain."
Village Council members wanted to honor Monaco for his years of service and also because it is unlikely anyone will serve the village for as long and as well as he did, Studebaker said.
"He and Paul Falco were great mentors to me when I came on as a newly installed council member," he said. "Frank was always great at helping give direction and focus to the council and to help keep the village moving forward and remaining the neighborhood-type of community it remains."
Although he had strong opinions, Studebaker said, as council president and mayor, Monaco crafted a spirit of cooperation between council and the administration that remains the standard today.